Rain

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The Manual

IN 1988 THE KLF published The Manual, or How To Have A Number One The Easy Way. Like the band’s music, it’s both instantly dated and completely timeless. It might be one of the most significant manifestoes of the 20thC or it might be a worthless cynical PR pamphlet. A fan has transcribed it into plaintext and hosted it.

Money is a very strange concept. There will be points in the forthcoming months when you might not have the change in your pockets to get the bus into town at the same time as you are talking to people on the telephone in terms of tens of thousands of pounds. Some of the following might seem contradictory but in matters of money they often are. We spoke earlier of how being on the dole gives you a clearer vision of how society works. What it doesn’t do is give you a clear idea of how money works…

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Cut and paste

THAT THE AUSTRALIAN SYSTEMS for heritage and environmental protection are racist is just a statement of the obvious; the Pope is Catholic for the same reasons, and with the same irrevocable finality. They are designed not to protect, but to establish a framework of forms to permit, and there’s really nothing that can’t legally be done if someone is willing to put enough time into drawing up a fancy enough report.

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Cuisine

IN THE COLD WAR bestseller Gorky Park, the villain, at an upscale New York restaurant with the hero-detective, makes a short speech about the true tragedy of the Soviet Union’s 20th century: the destruction, by Communism, of Russian cuisine. Since it follows another villainous anecdote about the Siege of Leningrad, Martin Cruz-Smith is really leaning into sardonicism at that point. Aaron Timms’ Salt Fat Acid Defeat in N+1 is excellent and you should read it, and makes the same point more seriously (and angrily): that restaurant culture is shitty to exactly the extent our broader culture is, kitchens and food cultures change faster than we think, and that we can do better.

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Delivery

MY OFFICE IS IN Newtown in Sydney, so I get to see the ingenuity and suffering of delivery riders on every variety of two-wheeled vehicle. It goes without saying that the work is among the worst paid, most dangerous, and most unpleasant, ways to make a living. What I’ve become interested in lately though is the sheer badness of the actual electric bikes, scooters, and motorbikes the riders use, because they’re bad in specific ways. Look closely and you’ll see cable ties holding them together, bald tyres, evidence of collisions, dropped bikes, wires exposed, just every variation of jerry-rigged cheap fix. They’re cheap bikes, flogged all day, and given exactly, and only, the amount of repair and maintenance needed to keep them running.

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